The hospitality industry in Wales took a big step this week towards normality and the path to recovery with the indoor opening of pubs, restaurants and cafes, which is amazing. With this reopening, we’ve been receiving lots of messages & emails asking if we will restart our Taproom events. I’m afraid to say that we will not be pouring any beer for customers at Cae Bach for at least the remainder of this year and we wanted to take the time to explain why.
We’re not ones to bemoan our location (honest!) but if you’ve previously visited the brewery, you’ll know what we’re about to say. We’re located on a small industrial estate in Llandudno beside the main railway line and is effectively a cul de sac. There’s a number of mechanical garages, commercial units and also a fishmonger, butcher and fruit & veg merchant (all excellent and worth a visit) along a long, thin strip of industrial land. It means the road out the front of the brewery is incredibly busy and there’s absolutely no prospect of using this space for our taproom for the vast majority of the week. It wouldn’t be enjoyable and it’s not safe.
That leads us to our indoor space. The shape and setup of the brewery is both a strength and a weakness when it comes to operating as a taproom. As our unit is long and narrow, when we’ve been set up as a taproom in the past, it really feels like you’re drinking in a brewery rather than a separate taproom space. We’ve been repeatedly told that this is something that people absolutely love about the setup because you are really in amongst it all. During the working week, this space is always in use, whether it’s washing kegs, wheeling in a pallet of malt or preparing deliveries for the van or to be shipped. Setting up the taproom is a big job each week. We have to clear enough space to set up tables, ensure the place is clean, feels homely with lights and nice touches and most importantly that we’ve finished any jobs in the brewery that might disturb you enjoying your beer.
The summer in North Wales is always a busy time. The area sees an awful lot of tourists come from all over the world usually but especially from the rest of the UK. That in turn means it’s our busiest time of year and we usually struggle to keep up with demand. We’re expecting that to be amplified this year with people less likely to be taking holidays abroad. I mean, who needs the south of Spain when you can visit a medieval castle, a phenomenal beach and climb an outrageously beautiful mountain in one day? I’m not promising sunshine but it’ll be epic regardless! Anyway, back to the point. The point is that we are going to be flat out here producing enough top quality beer to satisfy demand and we cannot commit to having production finished by 3pm on a Friday. It’s just not practical.
We don’t want to bemoan our situation but we have to be realistic when it comes to what we can achieve with the setup we have here. Ultimately, it all boils down to one thing – customer experience. You guys are the reason we brew beer. You’re the reason we survived the multiple lockdowns through your home delivery and click & collect orders and we’re so grateful for that. We owe it to you to provide you with the best experience possible when you drink our beer. I know some of you would sit on a keg whilst one of us power washes a keg 30cm away from you if it meant a pint of Nokota at the brewery but we wouldn’t be happy with that. We’re working on alternative options for the future to be able to pour you a pint but there won’t be anything happening in the short term while we’re flat out over the summer. As soon as we have something in place we’ll be sure to let you know.
The second most asked question is about growler fills. There’s hundreds of WH growlers out there sitting redundant and we’re truly sorry about that. Without the taproom we can’t commit to having beer on draught in order to fill your growlers. We simply cannot guarantee enough throughput to keep the beer fresh and up to our standards. We are not saying we’ll never fill them again but as we can’t promise this or when it might be, we are going to do a Growler Amnesty. If you’d like to return your WH growler to us, we will recycle it in our commercial glass recycling and you will essentially get your money back with an £8 credit towards a purchase in the brewery shop. This is £8 per growler that you hand over to us.
Thanks again for your incredible support over the past 15 difficult months. We’re working hard keeping cans filled, pubs stocked and developing new beers/planning the return of popular special releases. Free Local Home Delivery will continue in specified N Wales & Chester postcode areas and we’ll be open for takeout can (and sometimes mini keg) purchases.
Iechyd da from the whole team!